What’s wrong with Globe’s 100% 4G HSPA+ coverage?

Globe Telecom proudly announced the completion of rolling out its HSPA+ technology and that its entire network has already been equipped with 4G coverage. Although that may be the case, subscribers in different parts of Philippines are still complaining of poor connectivity from the telco. Here’s why it’s hard to verify if Globe indeed has 100% HSPA+ coverage.


Let’s first understand how a cell site (like Globe’s) works. A single tower has about 3 or 5 types of transmitters – one for EDGE, one for 3G, one for HSPA+, WiMax, and LTE. But newer equipment now combines most of these networks into just one transmitter (EDGE, 3G & HSPA+).

Each signal has a corresponding reach. For example, if EDGE has a reach of 25-kilometer radius, then 3G has about 15kms reach and LTE has about 5-10kms. This was the reason why networks needed to construct more cellsites across the country.

Here’s how the latest announcement from Globe about having all of their cell sites equipped with 4G/HSPA+ transmitters can confuse subscribers. So when their press release says “100% 4G HSPA+ coverage”, people will think that every time you get a Globe signal, that signal will no less be HSPA+, 4G or LTE. But that is not the case since people still experience EDGE and 3G at some places. If we turn it around, the same analogy applies when Globe, for some reason, announces their 100% EDGE coverage — it doesn’t mean everyone will get EDGE or better. There will still be users who’ll receive GPRS or no signal at all.


Globe’s cellsite (source: Globe)

What we think Globe has accomplished is equip all of their network towers with 4G HSPA+ transmission. That means even their tower in the Spratlys Island will have 4G HSPA+ (which used to be just EDGE and 3G).

But that’s where the disconnect lies — having all of the towers equipped with 4G HSPA+ transmission does not mean everyone who connects to those towers will get no less than an HSPA+ signal. Depending on your location and distance from the towers, you will still get either EDGE, 3G, or HSPA+. Even if you’re inside the vicinity of a cellsite, but are buried deep in the basement, chances are you’ll still have no reception.

So since delivering that kind of “ideal” service means having to build about 5X to 10X more towers across the country, what Globe is frontlining here is that their existing towers are 100% capable of providing that service ONLY to those that are within range. Basically what their press release just did was to hype up a technology and make it sound more than what it really is — something that press releases were meant to do.

With that, here’s the bottom line: Are their towers fully-equipped with 4G and HSPA+? Most likely. But does the service give the demands of their subscribers as they claim they would? We don’t think so.

What are your thoughts on the subject? More importantly, how is the signal of Globe’s supposedly HSPA+ doing in your area?

Abe Olandres contributed to this post

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Avatar for Kevin Bruce Francisco

Kevin Bruce Francisco is the Senior Editor and Video Producer for YugaTech. He's a Digital Filmmaking graduate who's always either daydreaming of traveling or actually going places on his bike. Follow him on Twitter for more tech updates @kevincofrancis.

74 Responses

  1. Avatar for gomermagtibay gomermagtibay says:

    Tanong lang po, based po ba sa distance? Or based sa visibility? Let’s say for example, lampas na ako sa radius by kilometer pero dahil mataas ang antenna ko, visible sa antenna ko yung malayong cell site? Makakasagap ba ako ng LTE?

  2. Avatar for benjie benjie says:

    Ang 2too mahina tlaga Ang globe hnd ka mkakasagap ng LTE signal ang kaya nya lng ibgay na signal eh,hspa at hspa+ lng na Kant nkawifi pa mas mabilis pa ata ung pagong…….smart LTE kaht 1 bar or 2 bars lng signal LTE Ang connection ko 5-6 Mbps pnkamahna pa un, 15-30 Mbps ung pnkamabilis….ung phone ko acer e600 lng ung peak speed nia eh 21mbps lng pero umaabot said 30+ ung speed na ibnbigay nia kaya try not smart LTE guys mas OK cya………

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